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Driving Reforms and Results in Federal Grants

OMB Controller Danny Werfel announces the creation of a new Council on Financial Assistance Reform to improve the Administration's grants process.

Since the outset of this Administration, OMB has been aggressively pursuing any and all avenues to streamline government management and improve the way that we do business.  From cutting contracting costs, to re-evaluating IT investments, to reducing the Federal Government’s real estate footprint, we have made tremendous strides to-date.

Today, I’m excited to announce another important step in this effort, as we look to reassess and reform the way that the Federal Government approaches grant making.  As our budgets tighten, it is essential for the Government and its grant recipient partners to do more with less and to target waste, fraud, and abuseof taxpayer dollars.  To do this, we must harness the energy of the Federal grants community to ensure that every dollar spent benefits Americans in a meaningful way.  That is why OMB Director Jack Lew is establishing a new Council on Financial Assistance Reform, to ensure that we are delivering, overseeing and reporting on grants in the most effective way possible.  More than 25 Federal agencies award grants that range from supporting lifesaving research and improving access to health care to fighting corruption and combating terrorism. These grants go to States, local and tribal governments, non-profits, universities, hospitals and others -- improving the lives of millions of Americans every year.  Under the leadership of the new Council, these agencies will make more effective use of taxpayer dollars to improve Americans’ lives.

This Council replaces two existing interagency groups, the Grants Policy Committee and the Grants Executive Board, in order to provide a unified voice in grants management.  OMB will co-chair the Council, which will include senior policy officials from the eight largest grant making agencies as well as a rotating representative of smaller agencies. 

The Council will coordinate its efforts to make bold changes with other government-wide councils, including the Government Accountability and Transparency Board (GATB)that the President established earlier this year.  This will ensure that all Federal dollars perform at the highest level, no matter the mechanism through which they are spent.  Under the Council’s direction we will improve transparency and accountability in our Federal spending and produce real results.  Based on recommendations from both Federal and non-Federal grants stakeholders, the Council will implement reforms to reduce grantee reporting burden while focusing on performance to improve outcomes.

Federal awards make big differences in the lives of Americans, and it is important that this money be managed in the most efficient, effective and accountable way.   We look forward to working together with the new Council and the grants community to ensure high performance and continued reforms in Federal grants.

Danny Werfel is Controller of the Office of Federal Financial Management.